Norwich faces race against time to apply for £8.4m cycling cash
- Credit: Sid Frisby
Norwich could be in line for an £8.4m windfall to improve cycling in the city - but faces a race against time to prove it deserves the cash.
Norwich is one of just eight cities given the opportunity to share in a £114m pot of government cash to make roads safer for cyclists.
But City Hall bosses have been given just a month to submit their bid for the Department for Transport's (DfT) Cycling Ambition Cities cash.
And they last night admitted that in such a short space of time it will be impossible to identify which specific schemes the money would be spent on in that application, so will be banking on the government being flexible over the precise details.
Mike Stonard, cabinet member for environment, development and transport, said: 'There is a chicken and egg issue, but we have got to produce a proposal which meets the Department for Transport approval.
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'Hopefully we will be able to produce another high quality scheme and put Norwich right back on the map for cyclists.
'Should it be satisfied, then we would be able to upgrade further pedalways in the city and add to our ambition to have high quality cycle routes to ensure safer cycling and walking.
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'It would make our streets much more pleasant and safer for everybody.'
Council officers said they asked the DfT if they could have more time, but were told they could not. But they were assured the government did recognise the constraints over the timing.
If the cash is forthcoming, it would be a further shot in the arm for ongoing efforts to improve cycle routes. The council is in the midst of its £5.7m Push the Pedalways scheme.
That project involves a string of improvements to the pink pedalway route - the eight mile cycle route which stretches from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Ang;oa, through the city centre, to Heartsease and Broadland.
The scheme includes new paths and cycle ways, 20mph zones and junction changes.
But some proposals have been controversial. Public opinion caused a proposed road closure in Park Lane to be scrapped, while a decision over changes to Tombland were put back.
• What do you think about cycling in Norwich? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.